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Borrowed from Ancient Greek φορβή (phorbḗ, food), from φέρβω (phérbō, to feed).


forb (plural forbs)

  1. (chiefly ecology) Any non-woody flowering plant that is not a graminoid (a grass, sedge, or rush).
    • 2002, Dale F. Lott, American Bison: A Natural History, page 122,
      So younger is better and the part nearest the roots is better, but what makes life possible for the pronghorn is a supply of forbs—small broadleaf plants growing among the grasses.
    • 2004, A. Kirilov, P. Todorova Development of forage areas and forage resources in Bulgaria during the period of transition, A. Lüscher, et al. (editors), Land Use Systems in Grassland Dominated Regions: Proceedings of the 20th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation, Grassland Science in Europe, Volume 9, page 859,
      Buchgraber (1995) recommends 50-70% of grasses, 10-30% of legumes and also 10-30% of forbs on meadows, while Kessler (1994) recommends the same proportion of grasses, 10-20% of legumes and 20-40% of forbs on natural meadows.
    • 2009, Mesaba Energy Project Environmental Impact Statement[1], 3.8-3:
      Common understory forbs included, but were not limited to, large-leaved aster, bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), bluebead lily, species of clubmoss, Canada mayflower, and sweet coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus).